Wednesday, 28 February 2007

mitts & new sock wool!

One mitt knitted, but more sock wool has arrived & as this is to knit a pair of socks for my Auntie's birthday on March 15th I had better put the mitts aside! The yarn is from The Natural Dye Studio & is 100% Merino. 100% wool may not be the hardest wearing option but it does feel very cosy. The big question is what pattern? It can't be too much of a challenge with the time factor involved. I know I have said somewhere in cyberspace that the next socks would be Monkey new sock book arrived yesterday and has a couple of possibles (infact they are all wonderful looking patterns!). A good recommendation from Brenda at Cast-On!

Monday, 26 February 2007

More socks

Two pairs of socks! The blueish ones are knitted in Opal Hundertwasser on 2mm bamboo needles (yes they ARE cocktail sticks but the socks are pretty neat & fit well). The pattern is baby cable. The black & white socks are in Opal Zebra (Rainforest), leftovers (real stash socks) with a picot edge & knitted in an oblique openwork from Sensational Socks. Knitted on 2.5 mm Brittany Birch needles. These are my favorite tools. They are the short size but are wonderful if you go to 5 needles from after the heel has been turned & until the number of stitches on the needles has been reduced after the instep shaping. I never attempt to match the stripes. I like their individual colour repeats. The zebra was facinating to knit. When the stitches were at there maximum around the ankle, wide stripes appeared. Black on one sock, white on the other!

The pattern for Monkey socks has now been downloaded & will appear on needles near here any day now! Hopefully we will have a working Rayburn tomorrow. I'm just beginning to wonder what I will do with a functioning oven -what do you cook in one? I long to roast some Mediterranean vegetables or even just bake a potato!

Driving home from work this afternoon I realised that to the south of Harrogate Spring had arrived. There were sturdy lambs in the fields & the daffodils will be open for St Davids Day. In Harrogate the crocus are a thick carpet around The Stray. To the north of Harrogate as you climb up onto the edge of the Dales -no chance! The ewes are no where near ready for the maternity ward & the only daffodils are a lonely clump of miniature February Gold. The weatherman said that snow was possible in the morning, driven on a northerly wind. Followed by driving rain from the west. Nice. A return to real British winter.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

More photos from the Alps

I didn't take my camera out yesterday in the end, as we had to dodge between showers. There were alot of muddy sheep, some muddy ponies but few signs of spring in our valley that is open to the weather from the north and the west. Instead of spring in Yorkshire I have decided to post a couple more photos from our holiday -one landscape & one of skiing. I love the picture of the stream. The light was perfect and I hope to have it enlarged to A1 size.

It is by the church at Notre Dame de la Gorge, about 4 km south of Les Contamines, at the end of the road. Hanibal is said to have passed this way with his elephants as he crossed the Alps.
The second shot is of son & heir in action, showing off his good technique & very distinctive orange troursers!

I will post sock pictures tommorow. I needed some simple 'car knitting' for today so I have started some pretty mitts for me, using some Schoeller & Stahl Aran weight 'Big' Mexico that I bought at the Harrogate Knitting show in November. Less said about the rugby the better! Lets just say they came second! My attempt at some 'mothers mittens' (i.e. one with flaps) was not that successful before Christmas (the flaps flap off!) & so I am going to just knit some quick 'regular mitts'. I will photograph their progress later. The yarn is really colourful.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

First sowings!

Planted the first seeds of the year today - Both Dobies Leaf Salad Mix. One is 'French Mix', the other 'Stir Fry Mix'. French Mix was a staple for last year, some in a trough on the deck by the back door with flat leaf parsley at one end and mint at the other & the rest in rows in the poly tunnel. It contains Rocket Salad, Chervil, Red Batavia Lettuce and Radicchio Verona and is a "cut and come again" salad. The Stir Fry is a new one but as we stir fry alot then it should be a welcome addition. It contains another mix of seeds -Pak Choi Cantong White, Chinese Kale Full White, Tatsoi, Kailan, Choy Sim Hon Tsai Tai, and Yukina Savoy. They are £1.45 and £1.50 per packet & you get alot of salad for the price of one bag in Salisbury's. They can, according to the website be sown outdoors from April to October, but here 'On the Hill' in 't north an early life indoors helps them along.

Not alot has happened this week that doesn't involve school, reports, entering data, preparing lessons & in some cases dealing with some grotty behaviour so its nice to have some time for ME! The year 7 reports are done. I have posted to both of my Geography Blogs -for Tropical Cyclones & Snow Leopard conservation see Geographylost & Geography Room! The work that the upper sixth are doing on conservation of areas of environmental importance & high biodiversity is throwing up some really interesting research & fascinates the 'information junkie' in me! Mondays lessons will be OK -prepared or nearly so, himself is at his parents laying a new kitchen floor, son & heir is out so its me & the dog! The washing is either on the line or still in the machine. The Rayburn is out of action AGAIN! It worked perfectly for..... 3 hours on Tuesday after a Rayburn engineer spent two hours here. Then the cooker tripped off & wouldn't re-light until it was cool, On Wednesday whilst himself was on the phone to the engineer the boiler also decided to give up! Next week...hopefully... For the moment its the wood burner, fan heaters & camp cooking!

I think that Moss the dog & I will go for a walk whilst its still dry, maybe take the camera & see what signs of spring we can see, then its knitting & rugby on the TV I think, with a few chores thrown in. Tomorrow Harrogate RUFC U 17 are in the first round of the National Cup having won their division. The bad news is that they are playing away in Cheshire (at Altringham), which is about 90 minutes away, so that will account for most of Sunday.

I have finished the 'stash socks' so I will take a photo of those when I get the camera out later. Another sock book should arrive next week. Brenda Dayne of 'Cast On' recommended 'Favorite Socks' & if Brenda thinks its good then ..... a quick visit to The Book Depository website saw the deed done (cheaper than Amazon & an earlier delivery date). I have purchased a gadget that allows me to hear stuff that is on my mp3 player (a creative zen micro not an i-pod) so I have been listening to Cast On in my way to& from work and I can honestly say it has helped to keep me sane this week. The chat, the essays, the music are all great & at the moment I have still have back episodes to hear so I have plenty to listen to. If you don't know about Cast On, have a listen.... and as Brenda says.. "if its cold, wear a sweater, that's what they are for!"

Sunday, 18 February 2007

The only one knitting at the airport!

Spent about 10 hours travelling back from Geneva (via Amsterdam) yesterday & I was the only one knitting! Its such a good & soothing way to spend time when travelling that its hard to understand 1) why its the first time i've done it and 2) why more people don't do it! The baby cable socks are coming on nicely! They are knitted in Opal ????. Silly me chucked the ball band away & I can't work out what it is! I might be able to work it out from My Ebay, but I bought it before Christmas. I actually prefer the stocking stitch bit where it knits in a random stripe & fair isle pattern to the baby cable rib, but the baby cable is nice.
We have had a great holiday. The weather chucked everything at us - 1/2 metre of fresh snow in about 12 hours, driving rain more commonly associated with August in Scotland & two days of wall to wall sunshine to finish with.
Les Contamines is a lovely village, it still has a traditional alpine feel. The skiing is good & its fairly laid back as french ski resorts go. The views (when visable!) were stunning.

I managed a nostalgic walk up the valley to Notre Dame de la Gorge. We walked through there about 25 years ago, starting out on the Tour de Mt Blanc (the long distance walk around Mt Blanc) on a very hot summers morning. It was a little different on Tuesday afternoon, but very beautiful in the snow.

The apartment was a real find. Very nicely laid out & furnished, right in the middle of the village & just a few minutes drive to the lifts. Flights were OK, all luggage accompanied us on both legs of the journey. Geneva airport on the peak holiday Saturday was the usual cattle market, but I just kept knitting.

Back to school tommorow! I could do with a few more days at home to get my head around everything, but there it is, no chance! Just get on with it!

Thursday, 8 February 2007

The not very snowy north!

Where is all the snow? Its not in t'north! The photos were taken at about 5 o'clock tonight and at 450ft above sea level, on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales. I spoke to my sister in the West Midlands who had horrendous journey to & from work, with little sign of any activity from gritting operations -plenty of gritters, not gritting! On the continent they use winter tyres & if it gets bad, snow chains, A quick check on the Internet will advise which routes require chains. Life goes on, so why is it so hard here. It must be more complicated than snow is infrequent?

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

What alot of snow forecast!

The next week looks like being a snowy one! Hopefully a little sun might appear, if that is not too greedy? Glad I have knitted all those hats. Where ARE all my thermals?

Sunday, 4 February 2007

stash socks & new toys

The stash hybrids are nearing completion. I MAY have enough zebra yarn, if not then I will frog the toes on the first one & finish both with pink 'flamingo' toes, also from the Opal Rainforest! The first sock looks a little strange without blocking but looks OK when worn. It looks abit like one of the archive photos in Folk Socks. perhaps if I coverted the picture to sepia....? The second sock is just beyond the heel turn, so we will see if its time for pink toes or not. Two more balls of sock yarn arrived yesterday (how did that happen I wonder?), one in a self striping grey and the other in pale blue. The idea behind the blue was that I can go for some contrasting ribs, heels & toes with the fairly significant sock yarn stash I have accumulated in the last six months -but which pattern next? I am very tempted by Dipsey Doodles Austrian Lace socks or then again Knitty's Monkey socks. Infact there are a number of tempting projects in the winter edition of Knitty. Hats, Mitts, a buttoning headband..... The next project will travel with me at the weekend so it needs to be fairly simple & easy to pick up and down (its two flights & a couple of hours in Amsterdam Schipol airport whilst KLM fail to load luggage(!) so that's plenty of knitting time). Maybe the blue will be 'baby cable' sock material?

We acquired a new toy this weekend. Both him indoors & I have our VERY BIG BIRTHDAY this year so we agreed to share a new digital SLR camera as our 'significant' pressie. We actually wanted to go to Alaska but that will have to wait a couple of years I fear! I have a Konica Minolota Z2 that's great for lots of things, but not 'action' shots (too hit & miss, as there is a time delay) & indoor lit shots. So we have bought a Nikon D40 & two lenses after much deliberation & have been playing today. No cooker & a new camera hmm.....! Still the bread machine works & a Rayburn engineer has promised to come this week. We shall see! Hopefully the quality of the photos on the blog will improve or at least I will not have to wait for weekend daylight to photo my latest efforts if I want the colour to look something like it should! We are cetainly hoping to get some good action shots of skiing next week. With a non- SLR it was a case of take many & delete most. We have, however, got alot of good pictures, we just had to take loads.

Just another week until half term than goodness! I may be a short half term but alot has to be packed in. One thing I did last week was to demonstrate the ease of 'blogging' & its potential contribution to raising student participation in their learning & therefore raising achievement. I certainly am encouraged by the progress & impact of my Geography blogs so far & it was interesting to share this with others.